AVW with Safety in Mind
Thursday, 9 August 2001
Few people understand the full complexities of health and safety regulations inherent in the design and installation of motion control systems, even less so when EU legislation is surpassed by a country’s own. The DIN standards, imposed by the TÜV, are known for being the toughest, most stringent safety regulations in the world and govern installations from railways and airlines to nuclear power stations. It was within such DIN regulations that AVW Controls designed, manufactured and installed the automation systems for the newly-built 1,450-seat Concert Hall in Thessalonika, Greece.

The facility is used for opera, theatre and as a convention centre, and as such needs to be totally flexible. The specification, one of the largest AVW has worked on, called for a fully computerised flying system for 34 scenery bars, 10 point hoists and four lighting bars, all with the capability of being controlled from multiple control positions. The control also needed to be easy to use and simple to programme, yet provide the sophistication of traditionally more expensive systems. The result was the AVW Impressario Motion Processor - IMP100, a motion controller with safety and simplicity as priorities. Impressario includes a generous 500 programmable cue capacity, advanced cue following facilities, group control and group synchronisation of scenery bars and even a real-time virtual reality simulator.

As well as the powered flying system, AVW Controls was commissioned to design and manufacture the proscenium control system, consisting of a portal lighting bridge and motorised proscenium towers at the Concert Hall. An elaborate system of moveable walls and 40 tonne movable acoustic ceiling, the control for which was also designed by AVW, converts the concert hall into a full proscenium theatre for opera and drama in less than two hours. Additionally, AVW provided the control system for the house curtain, with German (up and down), Italian (swag) and Greek (sides to the middle) curtain movements, as well as the safety curtain control system.

Understage machinery consisting of two synchronised orchestra elevators and a transport elevator, as well as a system of programmable stage elevators for 12 chorus and orchestra riser areas, were designed utilising a clever doubling up of Spiralifts and traditional screwjacks. With four of the screwjack elevators used above one large Spiralift, an overall top height of four meters can be achieved from only one Spiralift system.The project caught the attention of the historic Royal Theatre, two miles away from the Concert Hall, which was being refurbished in connection with Thessalonika’s status as European City of Culture 1997. Within the traditional Greek theatre, AVW Controls was commissioned to install a computerised flying system for 13 scenery bars, transport elevator, safety curtain and projection screen hoist, as well as to re-programme and re-commission some of the existing equipment.

Latest Issue. . .